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Hydrogen fuel cells offer a scalable, clean, renewable energy source. They are currently used in some automobiles, but due to the ease of scalability can be used to create large power plants to supply the grid.
However, according to a recent report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), hydrogen fuel cells are one of the most expensive forms of producing electricity in the world; around $6.7 million per megawatt.
Despite this Apple have just announced their plans to build America’s largest ever private fuel cell, to provide non-polluting electricity in North Carolina. The project will be developed in Maiden, about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte, where Apple already has a data centre to support the iCloud online data storage system, and their Siri voice-recognition system.
Apple will also build the state’s largest solar farm, but despite the 20 megawatt solar project dwarfing the 4.8 megawatt fuel cell, it is the fuel cell that has generated all the attention. A fact that James Warner, policy director of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, said provides “a huge vote of confidence in fuel cells.”
The fuel cell is planned for its grand opening near the end of the year according to Apples website.
The 4.8 megawatt facility will consist of 24 fuel cell modules which will extract all the hydrogen from cheap natural gas supplied by Piedmont Natural Gas. However, in order to qualify as a renewable energy source the natural gas will have to eventually be replaced with biogas.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
James Burgess studied Business Management at the University of Nottingham. He has worked in property development, chartered surveying, marketing, law, and accounts. He has also…